Hailey is the news editor for Wheels24. She's passionate about cars, particularly hot hatches, sports cars and anything with sliding doors.
I'm currently driving an old City Golf & realised that I will need to upgrade in the near future. I do at least 3500 km a month & therefore require a reliable, affordable & economical vehicle.
I live in Mpumalanga & the condition of the roads I use on a daily basis are anything but acceptable & I often have to travel on secondary gravel roads as well.
What vehicle would you recommend for my specific requirements?
You do not mention whether you would like a new car or used car, or what - apart from work - you'll be using your car for.
However, based on your apparent glee at owning an "old Citi Golf", I'd venture that you may not want to stray too far away from the brand since it is what you know so servicing and other related ownership issues should not be too great an adjustment.
The Citi Golf may have been discontinued, but there are still many of them on the market and you could strike a good deal on them.
Volkswagen will also still be selling "old" Polos now the new one has arrived. While these sale prices are good, though, the savings over a new car that is better equipped and more modern, are negligible.
I won't venture too much on pricing, since you don't mention a price range, either.
If you are looking outside of the brand, but at a similarly-sized car, the Toyota Yaris (or any other Toyota) should be your next safest bet. Although Toyota is at the centre of an international recall, Yaris models have not been affected and Toyotas generally fair well in reliability studies over the longer term.
If you would like a small car but need the flexibility of having space to store goods, the Honda Jazz could also be a consideration. You may have to consider it - and the other hatchbacks mentioned - low ride height, though.
Moving away from hatchbacks, have you considered a small bakkie? The Opel Corsa Ute and Ford's Bantam are useful when you don't often carry passengers and they should be a lot hardier on those secondary roads than the cars.
Lastly, don't be too concerned if you're undecided. I always say drive as many cars as you can - even cars you may never have considered - to get an idea of what you like, what you would be prepared to live with and what you may want, but could do without. Good luck!